Night court

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 8, Reds 7; Reds 7, Pirates 5: The first game was the completion of Monday’s suspended game with all the homers. The second one was the scheduled game, played in temperatures in the 30s when most other cold weather games were cancelled. And for whatever reason it showed up on my Extra Innings package even though I’m usually blacked out from both the Reds and the Pirates. Glitch in the matrix, I assume. Still, I wasn’t much into it so I watched “Night Court” reruns. Specific shoutout to “Chrizzi’s Honor,” the 1988 episode in which my inner circle childhood crush Markie Post had a party to celebrate Prince Charles and Lady Di’s sixth wedding anniversary only to have it interrupted by a siege in which hitmen tried to kill the anglophile dude she invited to her party because he was going to serve as a witness to the mob. The entire episode couldn’t have happened if cell phones existed or if anyone knew then how twisted the Charles-Di dynamic was at the time. Outside of some “Three’s Company” episodes, I don’t think I’ve seen a more dated episode of television that I actually watched in its first run. Oh, Mike Leake hit a home run.

Marlins 11, Nationals 2: A three-run homer and five RBI for Giancarlo Stanton. The homer was an absolute moon shot off Stephen Strasburg. Marcell Ozuna had four hits and Casey McGehee had three. Quite a definitive way to break an eight game losing streak.

Rangers 5, Mariners 0: When were one of you guys gonna tell me that Kevin Kouzmanoff was still alive? All this time I’d been thinking that he was killed in a bus accident in late 2011 or something, and here he pops up with a homer and three RBI like it’s 2007 or something. Figuring this Kouzmanoff thing is a Winter Soldier situaish? People recognize him, but he has no memory of his Padres days? Metal arm, etc.? Figure that has to be it.

Cardinals 6, Brewers 1: I figure one more game like this and those “so, are the Brewers for real?” questions I get on talk radio hits will dry up.  Shelby Miller, who spent the end of 2013 on the side of milk cartons, struck out seven and allowed three hits over six innings. Mark Ellis came off the DL yesterday and then drove in two.

Royals 4, Astros 2: Yordano Ventura was totally boss, striking out seven and allowing one earned run over seven while averaging 97 on his fastball. This kid is must-see TV. Like, real Must-See TV. Not one of those lame series they tried to shoe-horn in between “Friends” and “Seinfeld” back in the day. Starring Jonathan Silverman or some b.s.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $125,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Wednesday night’s MLB games. It’s $200 to join and first prize is $20,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

White Sox 2, Red Sox 1 Xander Bogaerts one-hopped his throw to first baseman Mike Carp in the bottom of the ninth, Carp couldn’t scoop it up and Alexei Ramirez scored from second. And while there’s no guarantee he does any better with the throw, Mike Napoli would’ve been a first base in the ninth if he hadn’t dislocated his finger earlier in the game.

Blue Jays 9, Twins 3: The AP game story says that the Blue Jays knew it was “only a matter of time before they got to” Phil Hughes. Yep, them and about 28 other teams in major league baseball. The Jays put up a five-spot in the sixth and Brett Lawrie made it a laugher in the ninth with a grand slam.

Mets 9, Diamondbacks 0: The day he was called up to replace the injured Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a homer among his three hits and three RBIs and he also made a diving catch in center field. Not a bad way to debut for the year. Bronson Arroyo was touched for nine runs on ten hits in three and a third innings. Eww.

Rockies 3, Padres 2:  Juan Nicasio started off a bit shaky, but then settled down and finished with six solid innings, which the Rockies’ staff needed.

Athletics 10, Angels 9: Mike Trout hit a two-run homer to tie the game in the ninth and send it to extras but then Josh Donaldson doubled in Jed Lowrie in the bottom of the 11th for the win. Those of you who dig bullpen drama should know that Sean Doolittle blew the save for Oakland and then Jim Johnson came in and pitched two scoreless innings and got the win. The A’s have won eight of nine.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2: Hector Sanchez singled home the winning run with two outs in the 12th. He said he had to win the game because his wife and young daughter waiting in the parking lot, had been at the game for three hours and that the daughter had school this morning. Ever heard of a cab, Hector?

Rays vs. Orioles, Braves vs. Phillies, Cubs vs. Yankees, Indians vs. Tigers: POSTPONEDI waited for you winterlong. You seemed to be where I belong. It’s all illusion anyway. If things should ever turn out wrong. And all the love we have is gone It won’t be easy. On that day.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.